The main route to Moerangi Hut is from the River Road car park, approximately 15 kilometres down the Minginui Road turnoff on State Highway 38 at Te Whaiti. This turnoff is 21 kms east of Murupara and is well sign-posted. From the other direction, the turnoff is 77 kms from Aniwaniwa on SH 38, where there is a DOC visitor centre.
On a recent tramp to the Central Whirinaki Hut we'd met a couple of trampers who were returning from Moerangi. They had told us that DOC had done a lot of work on the track to Moerangi and it was now a decent track. In fact DOC were continuing on past Moerangi to Roger's Hut but they hadn't completed work on that section yet. At the time we decided our next trip was to be to Moerangi Hut.
The route starts out on the Central Whirinaki track, crossing the Te Whaiti-Nui-A-Toi Canyon and from there it's only 30 minutes or so to the Moerangi turnoff. DOC had indeed done some good work on the track, effectively cutting a new, wide track on the uphill to sidle past the Moerangi peak.
In places you could see the old track criss-crossing the new. After a further ten minutes from the Central Whirinaki turnoff, the track joined up with a four wheel drive track from Minginui. The four wheel drive track soon takes a right fork and heads on down to the Mangamate Stream, whilst the Moerangi track continues the steady climb up its namesake.
The track is obvious and relatively straight forward, and makes it way through some beautiful native bush. This track is actually much more pretty than the track to Central Whirinaki. After a couple of hours, the track levels out and sidles around the Moerangi peak. DOC have cleared a helipad near the summit to allow access for their workers and gear. The upper levels of the track also give great views of the Whirinaki Forest Park.
The track eventually crosses to the eastern side of the ridge and begins it's descent down to the Moerangi stream. Along this section of the route, the track appears to have taken a completely different route from the old as it seems to carry along the ridge further before dropping down into the stream which feeds Moerangi stream.
About 5 minutes from the hut, the Moerangi stream is reached. Following it downstream, leads to Roger's Hut but to reach Moerangi, you must follow it upstream. Moerangi Hut is pleasantly situated in a grassy clearing with a few punga dotted around.
We ended up sharing the nine bunk hut with two families out on a four day hike together. The hut is small but there's plenty of space outside for cooking if needed. There is a water tank and also a sink outside. A log burner provides heating if needed.
We actually preferred this tramp to the Central Whirinaki one, the scenery was more impressive and the hut had more character. So if you're looking to avoid the crowds at Central then Moerangi is probably a good option and certainly no harder a tramp.